NBA

Coach Steve Kerr confesses that Golden State’s 2022 NBA title came as a ‘surprise’

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Before the 2021/22 championship run, the Warriors hadn’t qualified for the playoffs in two years and weren’t really considered title contenders. Despite not playing their best basketball, they beat the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals after a 4-2 series, and conquered their fourth trophy in nearly a decade. 

Coach Steve Kerr was clear and honest about how they accomplished their last title, and admitted they weren’t expecting to become champions. “It’s fair to say it was a surprise,” he recently told NBC Sports.

“It’s fair to say it was a surprise because we hadn’t made the playoffs the previous two years,” the trainer explained. “One of those years was injury-filled. The next year was a little disjointed.”

As for former Golden State general manager Bob Myers, he didn’t quite want to acknowledge that it came to a surprise for him, simply stating they were unaware of their potential that season. “Well, I’d say we didn’t know what we had,” he shared. “The previous two years were tough on us.”

Kerr further explained the key elements that helped them reach the final stages after two-failed campaigns.

“What happened that year was we got the roster just right. Bob and his staff did an amazing job, getting Otto Porter (Jr.), getting Gary Payton (II), getting Beli (Nemanja Bjelica). Those guys were really important additions. We got Klay Thompson back. Everything came together that year and we found our mojo again,” the coach claimed.

Sometimes all the glory that comes with earning a trophy can be a bit tricky, as it can also give you an inflated opinion on your roster and have a long-term negative impact. Last season, for example, the Bay Area squad only reached the second round of the Western Conference’s playoffs.

One of the most-positive takeaways of reaching that title was how it taught Golden State’s young core how to go all the way and win the Finals. Unfortunately, out of their youngsters only Jonathan Kuminga has remained in the roster after Jordan Poole was traded out to Washington and James Wiseman is now in Detroit.

“Maybe we weren’t the best team in the regular season,” Kerr said. “But sometimes things fall your way. Everything lined up in that playoff run. Phoenix lost to Dallas, which was a better matchup for us. Boston was really young. They were a great team, but they didn’t have Finals experience. That helped us. We got healthy, and we stayed healthy.

“Everything clicked. And our team deserved it. They earned it because they were so connected all year. It was a beautiful season.”

The Warriors coach then explained why their last championship was the ‘most unlikely’ out of their four titles

According to Steve Kerr, there is one key element that made their first-three titles easier to digest, considering the powerful roster they possessed. He talked about how the addition of Kevin Durant led to three-consecutive trips to the NBA Finals.

“It was the most unlikely of the four,” Kerr said. “When we had Kevin, it was almost like everyone expected it. Because everyone expected it, it was a relief in many ways. It’s unfair to Kevin in some ways because he was Finals MVP in both years. He was incredible. So amazing. But it was like we were supposed to win.”

The Golden State coach simply believes that they had a different vibe after so many years of reaching the last stages of each competition, that they just needed to let of some steam before riding towards the 2022 championship, their fourth in eight seasons.

“Before he had him and after we had him – because we didn’t have him – we weren’t supposed to win. There was just a different vibe around the first championship and the fourth because they were more unexpected,” he expressed.